How do we go forward in our psychoanalytic understanding of transgender children? This highly contested issue is at the core of an interesting edition of the journal The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child (Volume 75, Issue 1, 2022), titled “Transgender Children: From Controversy to Dialogue”, and edited by Jordan Osserman and Hannah Wallerstein. To counter the feeling of being stuck in an endless spiral of splitting and binary thinking in the field, they have proposed a new model of dialogue: Four scholars of issues connected to transgender children, namely Eve Watson, Oren Gozlan, Tobias Wiggins and Laurel Silber, shared their views in four short papers, and then engaged in a real-time online discussion, which was transcribed and edited for the journal. In the edition, as well as in the interview, a lot of ground is covered: Questions about the psychoanalytic theorization of gender and the mind-body divide are raised and clinical issues like regret, responsibility and countertransference phenomena are discussed. Maybe one way forward in our clinical approach might be found neither in affirmation, nor in neutrality, but in acceptance – a third term suggested in this volume. This interview will be of great interest to psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic clinicians working with children, adolescents and young adults, as well as scholars and researchers of gender and trans issues.
Sebastian Thrul is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in training in Germany and Switzerland. He can be reached at [email protected]
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